Metabolomic profiling of regulatory lipid mediators in sputum from adult cystic fibrosis patients

Jun Yang, Jason P. Eiserich, Carroll E Cross, Brian M Morrissey, Bruce D. Hammock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Retained respiratory tract (RT) secretions, infection, and exuberant inflammatory responses are core abnormalities in cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease. Factors contributing to the destructive CF airway inflammatory processes remain incompletely characterized. The pro-oxidative inflammatory CF RT milieu is known to contain enzymatically and nonenzymatically produced regulatory lipid mediators, a panel of structurally defined oxidized metabolites of polyunsaturated fatty acids known to play a role in pathology related to inflammation. Using an extraction protocol that maximizes recoveries of sputum-spiked deuterated standards, coupled with an LC/MS/MS detection system, this study presents a metabolomic method to assess a broad spectrum of regulatory lipid mediators in freshly obtained sputum from CF patients. A broad range of both proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory lipid mediators was detected, including PGE2, PGD2, TXB2, LTB4, 6-trans-LTB4, 20-OH-LTB4, 20-COOH-LTB4, 20-HETE, 15-HETE, 11-HETE, 12-HETE, 8-HETE, 9-HETE, 5-HETE, EpETrEs, diols, resolvin E1, 15-deoxy-PGJ2, and LXA4. The vast majority of these oxylipins have not been reported previously in CF RT secretions. Whereas direct associations of individual proinflammatory lipid mediators with compromised lung function (FEV-1) were observed, the relationships were not robust. However, multiple statistical analyses revealed that the regulatory lipid mediators profile taken in aggregate proved to have a stronger association with lung function in relatively stable outpatient adult CF patients. Our data reveal a relative paucity of the anti-inflammatory lipid mediator lipoxin A4 in CF sputum. Patients displaying detectable levels of the anti-inflammatory lipid mediator resolvin E1 demonstrated a better lung function compared to those patients with undetectable levels. Our data suggest that comprehensive metabolomic profiling of regulatory lipid mediators in CF sputum should contribute to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying CF RT inflammatory pathobiology. Further studies are required to determine the extent to which nutritional or pharmacological interventions alter the regulatory lipid mediators profile of the CF RT and the impact of potential modulations of RT regulatory lipid mediators on the clinical progression of CF lung disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-171
Number of pages12
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012


  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Free radicals
  • LC/MS/MS
  • Metabolomics
  • Regulatory lipid mediators
  • Sputum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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